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Burned by proprietary NAS, WTB Raid Card

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June 2, 2011 2:35:49 PM

Long story short: Had an OWC Radon 1TB (2x 1TB/Raid 1) unit that burned out on me, possibly at the same time one of the drives died (click of death, can no longer log into the NAS via network). The NAS unit only had a 1-year warranty and I am not paying a lot of money for it to be repaired (the data is important, but not THAT important) so I can pull stuff off it.

And because the HDs were parked in the NAS using OWC's proprietary file system, I can't plug them directly into my desktop and read them or evaluate them (indeed, Hitachi's own HD checker software won't even recognize them even when Device Manager does).

So that said, I am looking to add a RAID card to my LGA1156 HTPC (it's in a full size case with lots of spare room) and I want to build a simple Raid array there that I can salvage with the good drive if something dies.

Can anyone recommend a simple RAID card that will allow me to RAID a couple of drives together? I am initially thinking of two 2TB HDs, and I will be backing up my HTPC (1.5TB drive), a laptop (320GB drive), and desktop (120GB boot, 1.1TB data raid). Not all the drives are full, so I think 2TB is a fine capacity.

Initially I am looking at: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (edit: this looks to be decent)

I would like to keep the cost of the controller under $75. Additionally, I've read in other threads that you should mix and match drives to reduce the risk of multiple simultaneous failures, and I've also heard (from OWC tech support) that you should use the same model number and firmware in a RAID array to increase compatibility. Which is correct?

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a c 415 G Storage
June 2, 2011 4:45:34 PM

You may be able to recover your data by downloading and burning a LiveCD of one of Ubuntu - I understand that it includes RAID drivers that recognize most RAID formats. If you boot from the CD and attach the bare drive from your failed NAS you may be able to read it and copy it to another volume.

This is a perfect example of why RAID is pretty much useless as a backup, because it protects ONLY against disk failures and not against a whole host of other threats to your data. If you don't already have a backup strategy in place then IMHO you'd be better off buying an external drive or two for backups.
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June 3, 2011 12:09:21 PM

sminlal said:
You may be able to recover your data by downloading and burning a LiveCD of one of Ubuntu - I understand that it includes RAID drivers that recognize most RAID formats. If you boot from the CD and attach the bare drive from your failed NAS you may be able to read it and copy it to another volume.

This is a perfect example of why RAID is pretty much useless as a backup, because it protects ONLY against disk failures and not against a whole host of other threats to your data. If you don't already have a backup strategy in place then IMHO you'd be better off buying an external drive or two for backups.



Thanks for your suggestion--am going to try Ubuntu tonight and see if it will read the HDDs out of the failed array.

Can you recommend a simple SATA II raid card for the future?
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a c 415 G Storage
June 3, 2011 5:11:30 PM

Most of the LGA1156 motherboards have a chipset that lets you do "firmware RAID" - that's probably more than adequate for an HTPC. "Firmware RAID" means that the work of managing the RAID set is done the the OS device driver for the chipset, and that the BIOS has enough RAID smarts to be able to boot the OS from a RAID set. For simple RAID-0 or RAID-1 volumes it works just fine.

You'll be fine with different drive models, even different manufacturers. The most important thing is to keep the sizes the same to avoid wasted space.
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a c 415 G Storage
June 3, 2011 6:08:07 PM

No, doesn't look like it, does it? I'm not a RAID card expert so I'll defer to the advice of others. Your basic choices are between cheap cards that use firmware RAID and more expensive cards that have an actual RAID chipset on board.
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